How can you cope with the smell of smoking housemates?

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By: Jeff DrongowskiCC BY 2.0
I am a non-smoker who is stuck living in a smoky rental house until my husband graduates. My in-laws live on the main floor and smoke only in their bedrooms, but the basement of the house is rented separately to chain smokers. The odor permeates the whole house, not to mention our hair and clothes.

Sinus problems and health risks aside, I have a sensitive nose and would just like to smell something else for a change. Does anyone have tips to minimize the smell other than Febrezing the crap out of everything?

Is there anything I can do (short of moving out) to minimize the health risks of living in the land of perpetual smoke? -Holly

Here’s the bad news/official answer from

Multi-unit housing where smoking is allowed is a special concern and a subject of research. Tobacco smoke can move through air ducts, wall and floor cracks, elevator shafts, and along crawl spaces to contaminate apartments on other floors, even those that are far from the smoke. Second hand smoke cannot be controlled with ventilation, air cleaning, or by separating smokers from non-smokers.

Ok, so according to those guys, you’re shit out of luck: no amount of ventilation, air purifying, or closed doors is going to block the smoke or minimize health risks. That said, maybe there are some coping methods Homies might be able to share?

Homies, both smoking and non: how do you minimize the creeping smell of cigarette smoke?

Comments on How can you cope with the smell of smoking housemates?

  1. I have the misfortune to have to share a house with a chainsmoking alcoholic. Having said that, it would not be at all bad if he was not a smoker. I do not understand how smokers can physically breath in that dense cloud of chemical poisons because even the passive inhalation makes me ill. Anyhow, for the time being I have to manage the situation until I can get my own place, I tape my room each night and put wet socks under the door and leave a filter on all night in my room. I use sellotape and use it in the morning to pick up any fluff from the carpet. I have a remotely controlled secret filter in the kitchen area that I can operate discretely. I hold my breath when passing through the “Death Zone” each morning on the way to the bathroom where the outside of his door is brown due to “smoke creep” I am a little bit concerned when I can smell cigarette smoke and hear heavy snoring coming from the room but there is not much can be done about that except be sure of my escape route onto the flat roof….

  2. I’m having a hard time understanding why non-smokers don’t just take a shit in every room that the smokers occupy, so the smokers can get a sense of what it’s like to permanently live with other people’s toxic smell.

  3. Smoking is very injurious to health! Smoking is not good for a human body or mind.When a chain smoker continue smoking. Then he/she make air pollution. So needed air purifier.

  4. Smoking is a habit that burns a substance and the resulting breath breathes absorbed into the taste and blood flow. Smoking is very harmful for health! so we need to use an Air purifier for smoke in our room.

  5. I’m really sorry about what’s happening over there. Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything much you can do to address that terrible tobacco smell.

    I’ve heard people say that their Honeywell HPA200 or some other True HEPA device does a great job with tobacco smoke. And I have no reason to doubt them.

    But from what I’ve seen from research, no air cleaning device removes carcinogens. At least, none of them gets rid of these deadly carcinogenic particles completely.

    With that in mind, I guess the best thing is to grin and bear it until you’re ready to leave that location for good.

  6. I need to be honest with you and tell you that the only way to address tobacco smoke is to stay away from the source. Unfortunately, your situation for now doesn’t allow you the luxury of moving away.
    Luckily, it’s not a permanent situation.
    I’d suggest you try engaging with the smokers and let them know about your concerns. You’re a lady, and I’d say it’s hard to deny a lady small requests like that. If they can’t stop smoking around the place, you’ll have to be a little patient until the time to leave comes. I’m really sorry about your situation.
    I could also say to buy an air purifier for smoke. However, I can’t with a straight face say that such a device would solve the tobacco smoke problem completely. If you can afford it though, you can try an air purifier; it certainly helps. But keep in mind that that’ll never be a complete solution for the problem you have.

  7. No amount of gimmicks will stop the smell of tobacco smoke. Recently rented a house share that stated NO SMOKING – except the resident landlord chain-smokes and tells me when the door is closed where they smoke doesn’t go to other areas of house – they sure are delusional. Looking for a new place fast & furiously. The entire house STINKS of smoke. When I’m gone they don’t close the door so the stairway to my 2nd story area acts as a flue – every bit of smoke drifts upstairs – my clothes, my hair, bedding smell of smoke. Kept a copy of the ad just in case as there are other issues as well – doesn’t leave any space for my food in fridge & freezer, sometimes eats my food-then says they’re sorry they’ll replace, makes is inconvenient for me to utilize kitchen and just the other day tells me watch out for the dog trying to mark my things. This is costing me more than it should

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